The Marion-Franklin High School football team got a big play from its quarterback and a pair of defensive stops during the fourth quarter of a Division III, Region 9 semifinal Nov. 15 at DeSales to continue its recent success against Brookhaven.
With their 20-19 win over the Bearcats, the Red Devils beat Brookhaven for the seventh time in eight meetings, including the third time in five seasons during the playoffs.
“We knew we were going to get their best effort,” Marion-Franklin coach Brian Haffele said. “I saw this coming all week long.”
On third-and-5 from the Brookhaven 8 with 9:16 remaining, Marion-Franklin quarterback Justin Tyler couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone but had enough room down the right sideline to run in for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
The Red Devils missed on a two-point conversion pass to keep the score at 20-19, but held firm defensively on two Brookhaven possessions to improve to 11-1 and advance to a regional final Nov. 22 against The Plains Athens at a site to be announced.
The Bearcats finish 9-3.
After the teams traded first-half touchdowns, Brookhaven went up 13-7 when quarterback Macyah Fleming hit Keandre Powell for a 56-yard touchdown with 6:30 to go in the third quarter. Marion-Franklin’s Austin Dent blocked the extra-point attempt by Ceesay Abass.
The Red Devils took a 14-13 lead with 1:24 to go in the third quarter when Tyler found Shannon Royster downfield between three defenders for a 94-yard touchdown.
Brookhaven answered with 11:49 left to regain the lead when Fleming connected with Powell for a 54-yard touchdown, but Marion-Franklin moved 74 yards on seven plays for the winning score.
On third-and-24 from the Brookhaven 47 with about one minute left, Fleming hit Terry Barker for an apparent 29-yard completion, but it was ruled that Fleming had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing.
Tyler finished with 66 yards rushing and was 8-for-15 passing for 170 yards. The Red Devils’ Jhulyis Monroe ran for 132 yards on 17 carries.
For the Bearcats, Powell finished with five catches for 134 yards and Fleming was 8-for-20 passing for 158 yards. David Peoples rushed 18 times for 91 yards.
“You can’t beat that team giving up the big plays,” Brookhaven coach Trevor White said. “Them blocking the extra point put us behind the eight-ball.”
B--Peoples 2 run (Abass kick)
MF--Monroe 59 run (Thomas kick)
B--Powell 56 pass from Fleming (kick blocked)
MF--Royster 94 pass from Tyler (Thomas kick)
B--Powell 54 pass from Fleming (pass failed)
MF--Tyler 8 run (pass failed)